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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 25, 2012 4:30pm-6:00pm EST

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>> guest: one of my favorite titles of the last couple of years, i must tell you. as the title suggests, it is about an environmental policy and really kind of the chicken little syndrome when it comes to global warming along as an. the chicken littles and then there are the people that examine the. and understand that the climate of force is changing, but is totally not catastrophic and impact is not nearly as bad as a lot of people think. it's her first book with us, very happy about it, and that is brand new coming out. >> host: the communications director of the heartland institute. your website. >> heartland dot or. >> at the 1968 olympic games john carlos and thomas mann to raise their fists and a black power salute. >> this is black power. they intended so many people, white people in particular, by using that phrase, black power
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because that phrase, it made many people think the black power mac distraction anything about destroying america. it was about rebuilding america and having america to have a new paradigm in how we could truly be with each and every one. elementary school and junior high school about the land of the free and the home of the brave. we all wanted to be brave americans. but as young athletes who found it was wrong. we wanted to take our time to evaluate and then take our initiative to fix it. >> discover more. an online at the video library, surge in share from over 25 years of sees them programming at / video library.
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next on book tv, the history of the soviet union and the millions of victims of communism who he says have been forgotten. this is about an hour and 15 minutes. >> hello. welcome to bard college globalization in this fashion affairs program. and the director of the program. as is customary i should ask you to take a moment to silence itself was before we started. our program was founded by the late james chase commands tonight's event, russia and the communist path, as part of our james clark chase memorial speaker series. co-sponsored by cyan affairs magazine once again find in the back of the room of there.
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globalization and national affairs program braces from causing universities around the world to man and when they in turn international organizations during the day as serious as national affairs release dollars and practitioners and eating it here you can find out more of the program. tonight it is my pleasure to introduce david seiders speak about his new book. a long time ago and it never happened anyway. russia and the communist past. you can order it at the back of the room. i see people picked them up. this is his third book about russia. age of delirium, the decline and fall the city in. douglas donn, the rise of the russian criminal state, all of which, il university press. a senior fellow at the hudson institute and teaches at the johns hopkins school of advanced of the national city's among a wide variety of other affiliations. a long career as a reporter
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focusing on the soviet union and russia and is written for an extra very wide variety of publications from all across the political spectrum. way too many to list here. i think the whole night to a particular long biography. so the first event of the semester, so a bit about this format. he will speak for 25-35 minutes, which i don't enforce vigorously then we will open the floor to questions, which i will moderate. before we begin tonight and just want to take a moment to thank far faculty member of ours who is the vice-president at the director of public policy of the east-west institute for putting me in touch. and neil mccarthy in rachael manning who helped organize all of our events here with that i turn the floor over. [applause] >> thank you, jonathan. thank you all for coming. i'm very glad to be here.
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i often come to new york, this is the first time i have spoken to a barred event or spoken before a barred event. i hope it will be the last time. the book that i've written and that i want to discuss is the culmination, actually, of years of thinking about a problem that bothered me even before i ever set foot in russia and bothers people to this day in the west, often to very little result, which is, what is it exactly that distinguishes russia from the west? why is it so difficult for russia to fight for americans and other westerners often times to understand what goes on there? napoleon said that there actually are only two countries in europe. there is russia and everyone
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else. in that think that the distinction which he so accurately noted is really the distinction between the two different ways of looking at the individual human being. in the united states and the west and the country's of the world that are under western influence, for better or worse, the individual is understood as an end in himself. he cannot be used for just any purpose or as in russia the understanding is the individual is the means to an end. what this means for the history of russia is that millions of people can be sacrificed for political and and their deaths can be very little noted. the lessons of mass atrocities can be overlooked, and they can
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continue to have influence the political situation in the country. in one generation after another. i remember when i was a correspondent in the soviet union, a friend of mine came back after being completely unnerved by something he had seen. he was driving along outside a moscow. he was watching as a plane came in for a landing at one of the airports, i guess it was sharon matts low. and as it approached he saw smoke coming out of one of the propellers, one of the engines. the engine caught fire in the plane exploded, fireball. actually, that was in the frightening thing. a frightening thing was, this is during the soviet, at the heart
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of the burgeon, the financial times correspondent, what was really frightening was what happened next. there were no sirens, there was nothing on the radio, nothing in the tv. there were no road bumps. there was no change of any kind. and he was very close to the airport. it was as if absolutely nothing happened. in other words, it was more important to keep silent then it was to do something about the crash, to notify those whose relatives might have been involved and see if there was any slim chance of aiding a survivor. none of that was important. the life of the society went on as if nothing happened later on i was intrigued and horrified by the extent to which people in russia disappeared. now, of course, in the west, the united states can best lead
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disappears, especially if it is a child, this is a cause -- there is a general alarm. it is a cause for panic and extraordinary measures to try to locate the person, but in russia thousands of people disappear without a trace, and they do so every year. in the first years of the yeltsin era reforms a strange thing happened in the country. this date assigned apartments, many of them shall be in in not very good condition, suddenly began to be worth money. and the elderly alcoholic confirm mentally ill in some cases residents of russian apartments which suddenly had value began to disappear, and oftentimes they were found in the forest, especially after the snow melted, sometimes there
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were even found on a garbage heaps. and it was discovered that somehow or other they have signed over there apartments to mysterious companies with snow began to obsess hundreds of these apartments. and to make huge amounts of money off of them. what was this criminal conspiracy was only possible and it existed in virtually every major russian city, and it was a sign of the times. i remember in moscow walking along and sank an absolutely blood chilling notice attached to a bulletin board in the area where i was living, and said, are you sick, so, do you need help? we will pay your rent and take care of you on condition that the apartment is signed over to u.s. in your well.
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of course, it was clear to me that anyone agreeing to that arrangement would find that there will was being executed very quickly. and such was the case. and yet, during all the years the this apartment racket was going on very few, if any steps are taken by the authorities to do anything about it. but the incidence that actually typified the situation more than any other for me was the one that i used to introduce the buck, and this was the story of the and billiards player who had to my subject one night and you ended up in a dumpster. now, he was put there, he knew, but people who had knocked unconscious and robin orr as a
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practical joker or because he collapsed and lost consciousness and someone thought that someone was angry at him. we'll never know the reasons why , but the dumpster was picked up by garbage grinding truck, and he woke up inside the bin of the chart with the blades of the disposal machine going at full tilt. he found a place, look corner rate could avoid them, the valent of nine and one on because of the efforts of an investigative reporter, probably russia's only chilly in the been a newspaper, the transcripts of that telephone call which went
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on for almost a half an hour was preserved in which he begged the officers of 911, the people who are working to please call the police and find the chart before he pulverized by the blades. and the woman to whom he was talking to my think there was more than one directed with total indifference and as tim really idiotic questions and said, in response to his statement that i'm caught in the back of this chart, going to die here in his dissenting to citole, outage to get there? were there was another question, he said -- he gave the address where he thought, you know, that he might have been picked up
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buried body was. she says, well, who are your friends, who put your, is your idea, you know, absolutely insane questions. is all this an accident? does it exist -- are these just ran and incidence? and these things that could have happened in another society? well, to some extent things happen everywhere, but there is something about the real contempt for individual human life that is so consistent in russia and the flex so much the perris of the society and the social and intellectual tendency that has existed for generations actually centuries that it's impossible to ignore. traditionally before the soviet union was created religious -- political and religious authority were fused. bizarre was the devil is
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starting. his tax and the axe of the government he iraq to cover present the world to be sacred. tsarist russia had had all emission in the world spread the only true religion which, of course was the rush to defend russian religion to all the neighboring countries for their own good, of course. and oddly, this mentality was not rejected by the revolutionaries who, as much as they dislike czarism did not reject the czarist mentality. for them it was simply a matter of an obligation to spread socialism instead of -- russian orthodoxy. they shared the urge to combine theory and practice.
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and to treat political authority as the ultimate source of authority. the point of reference around which all considerations of based. the extent to which a higher sphere, is fear of transcendent ethics capable of bequeathing some sort, or lending standards were imposing its standards, actually, on political life had been abandoned in russia became clear when czarism fell because the new regime, which was imposed, was, if anything, more vicious, more repressive, and a touch areas and then there's team it replaced.
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the attitude of the new regime was well expressed by martin flounces who was the assistant to the head of the secret police , the first said he said that in trying to understand, and his advice to interrogators he said that and don't be concerned about questions of individual guilt or innocence, what matters is a social origin of the suspect, whether he owns property, who are his grandparents, what this is economic status. in other words, gilts was separated from responsibility in became the edge to beat of the class. so social annihilation based on not just individual guilt but on a pertinence to a group actually began with the bolsheviks, and
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needless to say, open the door for mass terror. the bolsheviks actually glorify terror, which is something that their opponents to not to. they're white opponents who were pros arson wanted to destroy the regime were probably in many respects just as violent as the bolsheviks, with the violence had a different character. it was much less targeted colleges the random explosion of hatred on the part of the soldiers who were just going to go and obliterate any village or any ethnic group, particularly jews to move it or their race. the bolsheviks, the other hand, a carefully targeted and glorified. the white leaders did not glorify tear. in fact, whether chifley are not they said that they could not control the behavior of the lower ranks.
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the bolsheviks, on the contrary, cesti, for example, in his riding and the others as well below for esl fell victim to tear treated terror as the birth pains of the new siding. and in a perverted sense you could understand the logic because you had a huge banner to mass that, as a result of generations of custom and prejudice was ready to support the regime in which they had -- in which they had very little and a small group of monopolizing property and power. all that was really necessary was to apply unlimited terror in order to move that peasant masses and make it possible for a different group to monopolize property and tear, but only
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after a process in which the massed not wrongly that he was liberated himself. oh, the history of russian terror is pro lean known to most of you, at least to some extent. when it became clear that the peasant part of the population was perfectly happy with private ownership, even if the country was formerly socialist, stalin and those close to him began the process of collectivization. in order to wipe out this ideologically unacceptable
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element of private enterprise within the socialist system the result was mass starvation. 7 million people were deliberately starved to death at a time when the soviet union exported grain. there green was confiscated and they were left with nothing. this broke the back up as a resistance. the bolsheviks in moscow were so fanatical that they enthusiastically supported this horrific crime only to fall victim to mass tear themselves because the process of creating a completely uniform, complete obedience and mindless society required not just the remnants of free enterprise in the countryside destroyed, but also that any political independence, including independence within
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the party be destroyed. 1937-38 with the years of the great terror, and in those years there was indiscriminate killing, and the entire country went without sleep because the arrests took place at night. cavy the officers were cleats on their boots, and people listen for the sounds of those cleats on the staircase is or the sound of the elevator with bated breath, and if the elevator pat to the elevator pass their program of the way up the new assembly also be arrested, and that night there would not be. the killing continued with forcible exiles, the force will exxon's of international lease, the use of slave labor, and it only was curtailed after the death of stalin. as cruise ship began to dismantle.
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by the time i came to the soviet union as a correspondent to buy arrived in 1976 as a correspondent and began to work is the correspondent for the financial times. this legacy of terror was secret number one. if it was referred to of all it was said that there may have been some past abuses, but the party rectify those abuses and that the soviet union, on the contrary, is a paragon of social virtue and is the leader in the fight to spread the blessings of socialism to all world. and this concepcion gave actually a sense of self-worth to people who have sacrificed their freedom and almost all respects. then maybe didn't exist as individuals, their lives and personalities were not taken seriously, but there were part of a great movement, and that
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movement was heading in is directly predestined to correct direction. it is going to bring an end to class conflict and war coming to the whole world, and as a result of that people felt that their lives and meaning, and the search for meaning is one of the most powerful motives affecting people anywhere. the best way to get arrested was to uncover information and to make it public. by making it public amis circulated and typed manuscript. you could not publish it because the -- there was no free publishing in the city in. about the stalin era atrocities in about the crimes, but even under those circumstances to where the people who had any hope that they would ever learn the true fate of the fathers,
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brothers, grandparents, and many people, in fact, were afraid, even to keep the pictures of, photographs of those who have been killed because they feared the consequences. well, 1985, gorbachev became the head of the soviet state. he began the process of perestroika. supposed to facilitate. the word for publicity and it means, and the policy was intended to kind of energize soviet society. in fact, a very fine french soviets elegist or writer said that you could understand soviet history as the alternation between the era of war communism
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in which there was to repression and the knew economic policy in which the peasants were briefly allowed a measure of freedom, allowed to grow further and sell it at market prices, and the kind of relaxation that gave the society the ability to draw on its inner resources and saved it from collapse. well, that alternation between repression and liberalization could also be traced to the christian era where the apparatus of terror was dismantled. there was relative liberalization and the situation froze over again and finally there was liberalization under gorbachev, but toward jobs ambitions were such that he was not satisfied with the kind of limited change that might have been possible.
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he was fiercely resisted by the party apparatus, and in order to recruit the population on this side as, in fact, khrushchev had done before him with his lead to the exposure of stalin, gorbachev authorize the policy of glasnost, and as a result of the freer flow of permission people began to come forward with stories of what had happened during the chair, what had happened to their relatives, what happens to there friends, the memorial society was founded and established a headquarters in russian cities, and people began to line up outside these headquarters often time standing in line for entire days trying to get in to register to tell their stories, to provide information, to provide any type of memoirs, photographs that they had managed to save the,
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the walls or rooms of these headquarters were plastered with announcements saying, have you seen my father, did you know my grandfather with pictures, do you have any informations about such and such person, listing the last that was heard about them. in this hemisphere information began to become available about the killing sites and the barrell grounds. it turned out that what had to cut hannah arendt, the halls of oblivion that it totalitarian regime tries to create, the totalitarian regimes try to create a situation in which it is as if they're victims never existed, and is dated back from the very early days of the bolshevik regime.
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they just should have disappeared as a result of the inevitable historical process, but they don't disappear because there is always someone to tell the story. there's always someone who saw something among rumored something. the information began to be gathered, and began to be a groundswell in russian society the protests over the atrocities if here and her left ben had been committed in a seeming commitment to memorialize the dead. the memorial society group to millions of members in cities all over the soviet union, and for the first time i've seen that history in russia was a potent political issue. people were talking about nothing but history. there was nothing but history in the scholarly journals and the popular journals, the newspapers. ..
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>> in a way, that was its hidden weakness because people opposed communism for a lot of reasons. we, in the west, seeing the anti-communist revolt assumed
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that it was a hunger for freedom, a hunger for liberty that motivated people, and in the case of come people, that was true, but there were also many people who exposed a little bit to the standards of living in the west, began to literally lust for the material conditions that they had been long denied, and concern for this became important not only in order to establish long deferred justice in the matter, but also as a weapon for destroying the communist system, and many of those who sought to destroy the communist system did so for
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purely material motives, and when the first sign that, in fact, the commitment to memorializing the dead was being lost was in 1991 as the confrontation with the communist regime reached ahead. suddenly plans to establish a memorial to the dead in moscow were put aside. the pivotal moment was the stone that was brought from the solvinski islands and was put in the square as a memorial for the dead in front of kgb
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headquarters. it was there for fear the former prisoners were dying off and wanted a significant gravestone for those being killed, but it had a perverse effect because it diffused the energy and the drive to establish a real monument, and as the political confrontation intensified, history became more and subordinated to the demands of overthrowing the communist regime. when the communist regime finally was overthrown, it can truly be said that the mass movement behind in support of memorializing the victims of the chair collapsed, and only those morally committed from the beginning remained to continue the work of trying to find the
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burial sites, to identify the dead, to establish monuments, to correct the history books, and russia was plunged into a horrific depression. during the yelpson years, the gross national product in russia declined by half. that didn't even happen under nazi occupation. there were 5 million to 6 million surplus debts. now by "surplus debts, it's a term used by demographers to indicate deaths that could not have been predicted on previous trends. in other words, something different happened. after the soviet union
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collapsed, people who lost faith in previous ideal, people who were suddenly impoverished, who lost the protection of the welfare state, died in alarming numbers, numbers rem necessary sent of a country at war. under these circumstances, many well-meaning people also simply fore sook the obligation to settling thes with history. when putin came into power and there was a raw material boom, a commodities boom in the world of which russia was the beneficiary primarily and there was no return to the issue of historical justice; nor was there, by the way, a realignment
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of priorities on behalf of respect for the individual because the regime, the economic reforms were carried out without the slightest interest in what effect they would have on ordinary people. it's the -- it could be said that the so-called young reformers acemented to establish capitalism. they had no concern whatsoever for the cost of radical policies for the population, no did they attempt to establish a framework of law that was an absolute indispensable condition for a rational transition from socialism to capitalism. putin made no attempt to reverse the priority of the state and the individual, on the contrary,
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we began to glorify the russian state in part, of course, to justify his own increasingly autocratic rule, and as a result, today, russia's a country in which the crimes of the past are given little attention. it's not that they are ignored all together, and it's not that someone is punished for bringing them up, but a society in which millions of people have been killed requires much more than in the way of commemoration than just simply going about one's daily business as if it never took place. a large grave site outside of st. petersberg, which was discovered only because the st. petersberg memorial had volunteers who went out into the forest and located the site, is completely unmarked even though 40,000 people were shot and are
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buried there. the only indication that anything unusual happened in that place is a little wooden plaque put up by memorial that says people -- victims of stalinist terror are buried here. please don't disturb their grave. that's it. nothing else. it's on the property of or tiller ri testing range, no cooperation with the military in terms of creating a memorial. the ub obtrusive building on a street that number 31 #, i think, i mentioned it in the book, i may have the number wrong, but we can check the book -- which was the site of mass executions in the basement completely unmarked other than a plaque that says the first head of the chekka worked in the
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building as is elsewhere. there's interests in the history to establish memorials and there was a typical russian approach. people put down a little plaque of types saying on this site will be built a me nor yal. well, 20 years passed, and on that site the only thing that you can see is that, there's no memorial, and it's very unlikely there ever will be one. carl was a german existential philosopher, which some of you may be familiar with, he was notable among german philosophers in his total refusal to compromise with the regime, and after l the war, he
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wrote a book called, "the question of german guilt," and in that book, he identified four varieties of guilt. there was personal guilt or personal criminal guilt is the term used, criminal guilt which is established by fact, political guilt that adheres to political leaders, and then there's moral guilt, which it adheres to an individual irrespective of whether he's carrying out orders because it has a higher source. orders come from the state, from society, from human institutions. moral guilt is ineffect guilt before god, and finally, metaphysical guilt.
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metaphysical guilt applies to a person with no physical, criminal, or moral guilt. in other words, it applied to him. metaphysical guilt applies 20 anyone who belongs to a society or a state that is guilty of mass atrocities simply by a virtue of being part of the same community which carried out the atrocities, and it reflects the failure to prevent it, the failure to have foreseen it, the failure to have intervened at critical moments, even at the loss of one's life. it's notable, and i think it needs to be acknowledged, that germany has acknowledged its metaphysical guilt was atrocities of the nazi era. i remember in st. petersberg running into on the anniversary
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of the victory, may 9th, young german kids with roses, which they were looking for soviet war veterans who were parading with their medals, and handing them these roses. of course, the war veterans were very moved and put their arms out and hugged the young kids. young kids were not guilty of anything. they were born after the crimes were committed. nonetheless, there's many such organizations in germny, and there's many ways in which germany expresses their empathy. they seriously want to expunge this poisen, and this is -- it is -- now as russia faces a
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really important challenge, and i think we're going to see very important events in the coming months because the putin regime, it seems to me, can want -- cannot hold on. it's too corrupt, too rotten, committed too many crimes, and it doesn't, and it basically -- its support son-in-law very superficial. it -- putin could parade around with a bear -- bare chest on a horse or whatever the hell he did, and carry on all of these stunts without being ridiculed because while he was in charge, the living standard was rising dramatically for people who lived for years with material deprivation, but it can't did on forever. for one thing, the material
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standards are not going up in russia the way they were, and seconds, as people are more independent and aware, they are concerned about things like justice, security, democracy, and fair elections, but the danger is those opposed to putin are a varied group. they are not just moraled idealists or liberals, but fascists and communists. the idea is to establish once and for all a regime that republics the individual and limits the prerogatives of the state. whether that will happen or not depends on a recognition of what is really the core problems in russia. for those of you who speak russian, the root of evil, and
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that is the attitude towards the individual, the idea the individual can be used for any purpose when in reality no state based op that proposition can guarantee liberty and certainly avoid mass corruption or the rise of -- or an intense process of negative selection that brings people like putin into power. my hope for russia is that this new opportunity, this second chance of democracy will be marked as well by an awareness that something has to change in the national psychology. i understand that my -- that my book is -- there is a russian publisher who wants to bring it out. i've been interviewed extensively in the russian media. there's a very long detailed
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interview with me on the russian service on the website of the russian service of liberty that we're trying to translate into english and get on the web somehow or another so people with see it, but more important, i would find it really a great hop nor, if in any -- honor, if in any way what i did in this book would have influence on that debate because i consider it fundamental for russia's future and russia's future to be fundamental to the rest of the world, and with that, i'll conclude, and i'll ask you for your questions if you have any, and i'll try to answer them. okay? all right. [applause] >> questions, please. yes, in the book. >> can you speak a little bit
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how the soviet union expresses about its government and education -- [inaudible] >> that's an interesting question. there are no official textbooks now, but there are textbooks that are endorsed. those books had a very apologetic attitude towards the soviet union. there was one draft of a major textbook that referred to stalin as a rational manager and attempted to -- and, you know, it didn't -- it acknowledged that there were crimes committed, but it said that those -- and this is very common -- very common to hear this in russia, understand the crimes in the context. time, and by not condemning the crimes measure to which they deserve condemnation, the
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textbooks actually justify them. they point out that stalin collected agriculture because he feared another world war, and he wanted to have the cultural sector completely under control of the government, and as a result of that, the troops were fed, the troops who defeated nazism were fed and had no supplies because there was no possibility of withholding grain. he staid stalin feared internal enemies and struck out at anyone he thought who could challenge his rule. i mean, they don't exclude the possibility that he overreacted, but by trying to find reasons, rational and understandable reasons for what was, in fact, mass killings,
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they mute of what happened and in various public opinion polls and various polls that were taken by television stations, stalin is practiceically the most -- practically considered the greatest writer, and one of the reasons he didn't emerge as the greatest in the poll, alexander, who defended russia against the tetonic knights, was named the greatest, is simple because it's believed that actually there were some interference with the results because the authorities did not want -- they thought it would be a little too outrageous if stalin were acknowledged as the greatest leader in russian history.
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>> hi, i'm olga, and i was born in bellaruse, and talking about what happened and like that was all that was talked about in the media and newspapers and discovering grain and there was just -- my question to you is not about russia, but the republic. i think our experience is slightly different because that was used as a reason to gain independence and point to what the government, you know, these people did to our people, and, you know, we have no idea of the infusion of this and the crime. how do you think the countries now feel of what happened? i know it's varied and
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government that, you know, stalin or worse, but how would you see it's viewed and how other republics are different. >> it's different in different places. in the baltic republics, of course -- i'll tell you honestly, there's no one in the former soviet union very good about being honest when it comes to history. the baltic republics certainly are very anxious to document the crimes of the communist regime, and they do this, and this is fundamental. it's to their national history. they commemorate the deportations, their museums of the occupation in lithuania, there's a museum of the genocide. well, they are not very good
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when it comes to talking about the collaboration of faults with the nazis. in fact, in lithuania, there there's a situation of the museum of the genocide referring to the genocide that took place there, the destruction of the lit lithuania jews. what they call genocide is actually the deportations that took place which were based not on -- were based on class criteria, were not an attempt to destroy the entire people, so in other countries and in ukraine, there was not -- in the -- during the strike period when people began to talk finally about the father and famine,
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there was so much terror in the ewe -- ewe crepe, those who survived the famine, they began to speak, and when they began to speak, the experience of the famine was pivotal in mobilizing people for an independent ukraine, but after the soviet union collapsed, the issue was largely forgotten, and it was only when victor became the president, after the orange revolution, that he began to revive the issue, and partially though, only for political reason, and against a lot of resistance in ukraine of -- for political reasons in order to justify ukraine's reorientation away from russia towards the west and ukraine's desire to be a part of nato. in the process, they also
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rehabilitated various ukrainian nationalists who also worked with the -- who collaborated with the nazis, and so the notion that there are, you know, that there are inflexible moral criteria applying to everyone is not something that comes naturally to people in the former soviet union. when there's political motives, of course, there are a lot of people who will raise these issues, but the number those who treated as a fundamental moral question independent of any political goal or independent of many political advantages still not great. there are such people. there are such people in all of the former republics, but not a lot, not a lot.
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>> it seems to me that there's been along communism culture cultivating, obviously, and it's herniated the psyche of the people, so how would you introduce an individual society? like how would you go about doing that in a place where ideas have hernias for so long. >> well, that's the question that faces russia, faces all the soviet republics. in the baltic republics, i don't think it's an issue. the people -- the impact of communism, although serious in many ways, was not as great -- it didn't shape the psychology to the same degree as it did in the rest of the former soviet union. the -- i think the issue is not so much collectivism because
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collectivism is under the impact of the change to capitalistic economic system that's being broken up in russia. there's a not a nostalgia for it. the problem is the lack of individual ethics. it's easier to break up collectivism than it is to endow people with the attributes of an individual, particularly an individual's moral consciousness and sense of right and wrong. one thing about the collectivist 's lifestyle, the communal lifestyle, is that it tended to -- it -- well, it didn't tend to, it definitely con deuced to a situation in which people didn't feel called upon to make individual moral judgments, but rather went along with what they were told. the collectives in the soviet union were the transmission
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belts for the orders of the communist party hierarchy, and the communist party leadership was held infallible. it sound like something out of science fiction or a comic book or something absolutely crazy to live that way. i had a friend who told me after the invasion of afghanistan, there was one incident in which a soviet journalist got on the radio and began talking about the soviet invasion of afghanistan. now, that may seem unremarkable, but the fact is all the media, all of the newspapers, television, radio, all public lectures, anything -- all party meetings, all political information sessions repeated that this was fraternal help to the brotherly afghan people, and
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here, suddenly, he was driving along in his car, turns on the radio, and he hears somebody in russian talking about the invasion of afghanistan. he told me he almost drove off the road he was so shocked, all he could do not to get into an accident. well, the -- under that kind of pressure, you know, people lose the hat of thinking for themselves, and the idea that they would rely on their own sense of right and wrong is somehow bizarre because this type of society for them became normality, and then when that society broke apart and people were left on their own without the habit of forel self-restraint and without
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ethics, you got criminalization, and that's what happened in russia, and i have a friend in russia who is a writer, very good writer, wonderful, classic writer, and he's written novels, which i hope some of you at least will read. one is called "extraordinary adventures of von trumpkin," and he was asked now wrote stay tires about -- satires about works of the soviet union, and after its gone, is it still possible to write satire? he says, oh, yes, you know, the soviet union was a giant mental hospital, but it was an organized mental hospital. he said, now the patients have been told they can do whatever they want, so it's funnier than
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ever. [laughter] any other questions? yeah? >> do you think they ended up paying much attention to the pass because they were immunized by the international community? >> you mean contemporary russia? >> yeah, contemporary russia. >> if there was pressure from the outside world, they would -- >> for example, germany, a couple of time, held the nuremberg trials held accountable for what they did. >> i see what you mean, but germany was a defeated power. there was, of course, support. ..
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>> asking about scrutiny. under the new york times. >> the po was apprised of you are talking about the. [inaudible] >> he lied about the ukrainian famine as well.
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yes. many other things. the problem with that was the 1930's. western -- western -- we are talking about several different issues. during the -- while the soviets been existed -- course you talking about scrutiny, but you as we have a denial on the part of the leading people in this country refusing to see what you sell for yourself and many of us so experience ourselves. >> during the soviet time private was extremely adept at manipulating western opinion. they did so -- >> scrutiny. >> us talk about two different things. first of all, the soviet union mollah existed. then after that time after the soviet union are even beginning with the gorbachev because during the years that
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disobedient existed it was an uphill battle to convince people in the last of the scale of the crimes, and come in fact, those who, as you say, the apologists, the -- those people who are really patsies by that the soviet regime often prospered in there careers for many @booktv very simple reason because they laid to residences, that insofar as anything that happened in the city he was kutcher intuitive, all that they had to do was find seemingly rational explanations for what was going on there, for people to be misled. it was much easier to believe that while the temporary shortages in the area and for security reasons the soviet
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forces have cordoned off large parts of the ukraine the better to feed the population than it is to believe that people were being blocked in there villages in order to deliberately -- deliberately so that would starve to death. >> scrutiny. >> rudd, this is -- it's not -- on not making excuses. and trying to explain how it happened. the thing is that of the one hand careerism is a horrible and very potent factor. many of the journalists and diplomats who went to the soviet union at that time affected by the career mentality because the people who get there are already successful. so they're programmed in order to think in terms of their further advance that they get there and then the situation in which the begin automatically being as if there were in
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washington trying to get high-level contacts, scoops, things that i mean less in its deleterious society. and then, of course, there are confronted by another factor which is danger which there are certainly not accustomed to. they don't know what's going to happen to them if they begin -- they fear for there careers and their lives. and under those circumstances we can say that we have another important factor, the failure to test support and evil, not just journalists and half to pull ahead call that the sylvia was not a nazi germany. it was not openly cannibalistic. it was a system that promised universal brotherhood, social
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justice, and war, said the gain was not interested in doing anyone any harm, according to their own definition this of the gang was trying to bring all of humanity, to a new world. it wants to create a heaven on earth. and under those circumstances they hid the fact, they're creating a real hell. there were many people attracted by those slogans and unwilling or unable to see their true, you know, what they're really meant and were ready to believe it. so all of these factors played in. westerners going about their lives pursuing their careers, living in order to make money,
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enjoy their families and have success as they enlisted, not prepared for dealing with an ideological system which is --d in which none of those thingsd have any importance quite capable of subjected to scrutiny >> we aren't, and there were many people did. even more to in this room. >> but take that as a jumping off point, what about in the russian academy? people in the academic world and russia, is there any appetite for looking into anything like this? mendez said that as someone is affiliated with the russian institution, i've never been there, but st. petersburg university, and the wonder. >> scattered.
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the bookstores are filled with books praising stalin right now in moscow and leningrad showing what a great military leader he was. i mean, the back of these of him that are on the whole sympathetic, those books, alitalia, just a personal story. i wrote about my second book called darkness at dawn in which had described the moscow apartment bombings in which i believe this secret police blew up four buildings, killed 300 people in order to provide a provocation to justify the second chechen war and bring food into office. that book was bought, 3,500
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copies and it was well documented because i went back to a place where kate fsb officers were arrested after putting a bomb in the fifth building was to not go off because the residents were alert and solid. 3,500 copies, it was sold out, that printing, and that was it. but there was not a wider interest in this society. there was a certain core group of people who are interested in these issues, even in russia itself. but it is not a big group. and in the funny thing is that really searching and truthful historical accounts in russia probably would not sell.
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now, that may be changing only now because the political situation is changing, but that is the way it was during many of these years in the 2000's when bruton was and. >> the question. >> says. [inaudible] >> i was honor what you thought about the transition from franco's spain to spanish republic and have the case may relate to post-communist russia considering the spin to normally carry up transitional justice or crops the memory, almost repressed for two decades are so and we still see a democracy. i was wondering if maybe use that the differences between the failure of russia had to do with geopolitical implications of
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spain being closer to the western europe's and having its historical legacy of communism tying into the psychological differences in the left and russia cretaceous up by saying that i don't feel that i have a lot of expertise on the subject to spain, but what i do know about it or have heard , the spanish civil war was so rick, and it divided society so fundamentally that people trade lightly in spain for fear of that -- had to many people remember who killed their relatives and their friends. it needed time in which that was discussed. that generation had to go. in russia you had a regime which
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victimized everyone, just people indiscriminately. there was not -- you know, by the time the russian civil war was in the early 1920's, by that time the great terror took place there was no opposition anymore in society. it wasn't a situation like that that existed. think that is the big difference , and i think the other big differences the russian imperial mentality which is in spain, which is a catholic country, nonetheless, and there is no notion that the individual , there is no ideological predisposition to think the individual is just raw material. you know, under the stress of the spanish civil war, of course terrific atrocities were committed, but they're still a
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cringe it -- christian consciousness in spain that the individual has inherent worth which is what you're battling within russia. >> one more after that. >> okay. i was is going to ask. to change their attitude , do you see the recent pursuits of democracy in this direction are do you think that is not enough to address that issue of the underlying attitude? >> well, it is a hopeful development, but i am worried about the nature of the russian opposition. i always disagreed with the notion that the time when the opposition was not very powerful under prudent derek is barf who is in a sense a kind of cali because we both read for the law street journal editorial page, they took the view that all of
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-- of the anti pydna elements to form a coalition despite the fact that they're all very different and have nothing in common with each other, whereas i thought that it did not matter how many people were involved but that the moral position then the thing that is a problem as a result of the falsification of the december 4th parliamentary elections, but who does it consist of? this is the question. what will happen when those people no longer have a common enemy. it therefore you can always get people in russia to protest against corruption. the problem is that those who protest often come into power and become just as corrupt, if not more corrupt than those the replaced.
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but my great fear is that they won't -- that the opposition will not face the real issue, which is not corruption, but the source of corruption. corruption is only a symptom. and the source of corruption, the -- the root of the evil is the attitude toward the individual. creek's ways appointee to said, -- >> to raise a point with you, russian people said that democracy leads to crime. and so what he said, the and people, according to your recent "wall street journal" article 40 percent of young people
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believe the culture. >> they express a wish. >> so the right time for russia to lean more toward the change for democracy? >> yes. yes. it is the right time, with the problem is, the notion of democracy has been completely confused because our people are policymakers during the 1990's took the position that yeltsin was the embodiment of democracy. they in fact did not know anything about him and did not try to learn. but russians did not understand that this was superficiality, bureaucracy.
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they cite as a plot. they intended to undermine and destroy russia as a factor in the world. as a result we had the unfortunate -- our policies have had the unfortunate consequence of creating the impression in the minds of russians that we endorse the notion of democracy as criminality which, of course, is not the case. and this also echoes soviet propaganda, by the way. because march had this theory of primitive capitalist accumulation which was the first accumulator primary capitalist accumulation -- i don't know if it is worth going into come on primary capitalist accumulation is marked by massive criminality so, you know, we and what -- we
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unwittingly reinforce that view and therefore if we're talking of what democracy now what we're talking about is also the obligation on the part of the nested and other western powers and just in general the outside world to make it clear to russians that democracy represents -- is the crystallization of the realization of respect for the individual. that is the lesson -- that will be a hard sell, and a sense. it is not impossible. russia's a very smart people. but we have gone a long way toward confusing those concepts that we theoretically promote and support. >> the book is called "it was a long time ago, and it never happened anyway."
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thank you, katie for joining us. [applause] i will hope to see you next time. kayfive. >> who would like to hear from you. tweet as your feedback. >> donated the 801 books covered on book notes to george mason university located just a sad lesson in d.c. the university is currently cataloguing a collection at the fan with library. book tv, an hourlong interview program hosted by brian lamb air from 1989-2004. the university librarian says as the collection entitled to "beyond the book." >> in the mind of brian this
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book is the genesis of the book notes program and c-span. by reading this book he decided he wanted to interview the author, and that gave him the idea of the book notes, that it would be worthwhile for him to read a lot of books and ted talked to the authors. >> host: 801 total episodes of book notes all original, and this was the first official but no stomach correct? >> guest: exactly. dr pepper's is key, of course, was the chair of the security council. >> host: when you pick the books to go in these display cases. >> guest: several of my colleagues in the special
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collections at archives area made the selections of the books to be highlighted, and then made the invitations accompanying each of his split atoms, and they chose to select the core question asked on the book was televised program and brian lamb and then produce the answer, the response provided by the author to that question. >> host: here again, you can see a lot of notes taken of reading the book. when you put these books in the cases, did you look for varying points of view? >> exactly so. i mentioned on other criteria was to reflect the perspective in book notes, and that is is
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set to the point. our various subjects and 801 books, and secondly, many, many points of view from political perspective, social perspective, human interest perspective but could. >> guest: is is our cover available to tell available for scholars of the public. >> guest: is beginning to become available. library staff are in the process of cataloguing the collection. we are about 40% through. for the titles that have already been catalogued, there are available to any student, faculty member at the university and, of course, because this information is excess will to the world wide web in the united states and abroad and. >> host: you will be putting it on the george mason website?
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>> guest: zero, yes. definitely. >> host: we have seen some of the books, would you have poses threat the library. i want to start with this one right here. this is from the book boundaries. what are we looking at? >> two pieces of paper. one is a page from a writing pad that has the notes of brian lamb about the book, and then we have an envelope from the bill it looks like, verizon, where he also has made additional notes including some personal reformation such as in naples florida. understand he was the first person that employed bryan professionally. so it was brian lamb maintained
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relationships press his life with his early mentors. >> host: let's go look at the full collection, if we could. again, we have posters. >> guest: the purpose of the posters is to connect this part of the exhibit to the other part of the exhibit which is that building a vote on this complex that constitutes fennec library. >> host: can the public on terence cds? >> guest: most definitely. >> guest: the other part of the exhibits. here we have three display cases containing materials from the books collection. in this particular case it is not just the books, but we also
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have what we consider an architectural or archives part of a collection which is relating to the book. it is john coal train music, part of the music. >> host: all the books have no such as this one? >> it varies. i understand from brian originally he was not making annotations within the books themselves. he was making notes separately. he has retained some of those notes, but not all of them. later on as the program
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progressed he started making tenths in the books themselves. >> host: in the long term, we will letting state? the air in the light? >> guest: welcome of physical materials overtime deteriorate, however, special collections and archives, we have special environmental conditions to preserve paper and anything that is original paper. so under proper care this writing should last for centuries. these particular boselli be used on site under the special collections and archives to which to a bill later.
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however, we have other copies available in the general collection of the libraries available for speculation. >> host: more notes from one of the books. why did this when get blown up? will a special? >> we understand that portugal is one of the favorite authors of brian. as you can see from this poster, the blown up notes, he really became interested in this particular book. that's why we chose it because of the significance to the other . >> host: a letter. >> guest: exactly, recommending that the lipstick be considered for book notes.
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i should point out that the late professor who was a professor here at george mason university, in this case, in fact another book by the mason professor which is actually really only fiction, the only one to be highlighted in the book knows program. >> host: here are the rest of the 801 books. >> guest: exactly. and these books are shelved in the order that they were in the office of brian lamb at c-span and also in the order of the televised programs. >> host: soak beginning here, except for the ones that were taken out and you have the votes here. >> guest: exactly. there to indicate where the exhibited volumes belong in this
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arrangement. >> host: and so these are the books in order, correct? >> guest: exactly. >> host: did you watch? >> guest: most definitely. i was a regular book notes of your. and win brian lamb announced on air that the program was coming to an end i made a mental notes that next day i needed to look into the matter of whether we could obtain the collection and the associated archive from the c-span organization. ..


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